New Delhi: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday ruled in favour of India and affirmed Kulbhushan Jadhav’s right to consular access. It also slammed Pakistan for breaching obligations incumbent upon it under Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
“Court finds that Pakistan deprived India of the right to communicate with and have access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation, and thereby breached obligations incumbent upon it under Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” said ICJ in its verdict.
The Court rejected the objections raised by Pakistan to the admissibility of the application of India and found that the application was admissible.
The Court declared, by fifteen votes to one, that a continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav.
India’s advocate in Kulbhushan Jadhav case Harish Salve slammed Pakistan for the language used by their advocate at the ICJ.
“I have a degree of personal satisfaction that a lot of adjectives were used by Pakistan, even in replying at court I characterise them as unfortunate. I said it’s my upbringing and India’s tradition which stood in my way of replying to them in that language,” said Salve.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the verdict and said that the truth and justice have prevailed.
The 48-year-old retired Indian naval officer was sentenced to death for alleged espionage by a Pakistani military court.
Pakistan had claimed that they had arrested Jadhav in 2016 from Balochistan province in 2016 but India refuted by saying Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran, where he was running a business.
India complained that Pakistan should have notified when it arrested Jadhav and asked for his free communication and also free access to the Indian consular officer.
On May 8, 2017, India turned to the International Court of Justice in relation to violations by Pakistan of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963.
Under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), one is allowed a fair and impartial trial, in which the accused is represented by a lawyer of his choice.
In December 2017, when Jadhav’s mother and wife travelled to meet him, their interaction was across a glass barrier and through a telephone. Jadhav’s responses came across as stilted and tutored. Thus India accused Islamabad of violating the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by not allowing consular access to Jadhav.
India has also urged the ICJ to quash Jadhav’s death sentence, by saying that the verdict by a Pakistani military court was based on a “farcical case” and failed to satisfy even the minimum standards of due process.